CEDAR FALLS — Cole Henry, a 6-foot-9 forward from Oskaloosa announced his commitment to Northern Iowa on Monday night via Twitter.
He held offers from Furman, American, Florida Atlantic, Illinois-Chicago, North Dakota, Air Force and Indiana State, among a few others, before receiving a scholarship offer from the Panthers on July 30.
Henry told The Gazette it was an easy decision to commit to what’s long been his “dream school.”
“Ever since I watched Ali Farokmanesh hit that shot against Kansas in March Madness I’ve kind of always been drawn to the school,” Henry said. “When they offered it was definitely hard to pass up. And after I went on the visit and the coaches were very supportive — and it felt like it was home. So it was a very easy decision for me.”
Heading into the 2018 AAU season — Henry plays for Martin Bros. — the 2019 commit said hard work on a couple areas of his game helped him improve his stock.
“This past summer I’ve lifted a lot,” Henry said. “I think something that’s really helped me out is my athleticism. I’ve gained about 7 inches on my vertical (jump) and I feel like I’m out-jumping a lot of people. Also, my shot (has) come a long way. I think as the live (recruiting) periods took over for AAU I was really hitting shots and I think that’s another thing that really helped me out with the recruiting process.”
Henry averaged 15.0 points, 6.9 rebounds and a team-leading 5.5 assists while shooting 59 percent from the field for an Indians team that made the Class 3A state championship game in March. He was impressed on his visit by the UNI staff, laying out a plan for his entire career. He said the Panther staff is looking forward to utilizing his point-forward skills.
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“They definitely like the way I pass the ball,” Henry said. “All the people all seemed like they knew exactly what they wanted out of me. They had film ready for me to watch to see how I could help the team. So that kind of made me feel like I was really wanted at the university.
“So I definitely feel like I belong there and I can’t wait to get this started.”
UNI’s 2019 class, which already includes Garner GHV's James Betz and Dubuque Senior’s Noah Carter, is likely finished for head coach Ben Jacobson with the commitment of Henry.